“This morning I’m standing in front of 110 school children talking confidently as a role model for anyone considering a career in architecture. I wish I could say it’s a carefully manicured act. However, that confident person presenting at the front of the room is wearing mismatched socks and an outfit selected just seconds before rushing out of the house. But I take the wins where I can. Today, I made it here with all ten finger nails painted gloss black – #winning.
I am very honest about the juggling balance that comes with being a working parent. I rarely describe it as easy. In truth, it’s hard work. Car journeys are always hectic and I’m envious of the people who don’t have their child’s last minute history project to contend with.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m a workaholic – the constant bustle of being a full-time working parent is totally addictive and most of the time I feel like I have it all.
Flexibility helps to alleviate some of the pressures that come with tackling endless to-do lists. Flexible working hours, remote working and greater parental benefits are all improving the work-life balance. And I find my inane conversations with Siri at least allow me to put a degree of organisation back into my daily life. NASA has nothing on me.
That said, my genuine fear is that one day I’ll drop one of the spinning plates and the headlines will read “Mother abandons child at school gates on inset day”. I worry about turning up to the wrong meeting location or panic I’ve left my straighteners on at home. I fear I’ll reveal the chaos and that it will somehow devalue my strengths.I know I am not alone. Whilst preparing for this morning’s presentation, my colleague’s two-year-old prods me periodically with a green Star Wars lightsaber. We’re both trying to rehearse intermittently between interactions with her gorgeous Stormtrooper. I smile at her as I remember these golden moments fondly. She apologises. Working parents always apologise. Why do we do this?
We need to stop. This cute two year old simply wants a moment to show off his lightsaber. And that second you flash them a smile is the exact moment you’ve mastered the balance. They’re deliriously happy and you get another slide in your presentation completed. The rewards are there for you – savour them. After all, these wonderful little people are the reason you are working so hard in the first place. They’re the reason you’re always rushing, arriving late and pulling a pair of tights from your briefcase instead of tissues.
If you’re having a bad day, week or month, just remember your family respects your constant drive and the effort you make to master the work-life balance. You’re not alone. There are plenty of other parents out there with similar stories about their own Stormtroopers. Whenever possible try to find the humour in it all.”